Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It's amazing the
stuff that piles up over time.  I'd
not want to place this burden on
anyone else.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Happy New Year!

Our blog offices shifted as of late yesterday afternoon from the Ferry Line office to the lower level of our home.

I'm surrounded by file boxes, photos, books and an assortment of other stuff accumulated since that building was completed in June of 1996.  What I'm surrounded by this morning is only part of the total.  Two days ago boxes of documents, copies of regulation and old correspondence I hope not to ever have to revisit were hauled to the trash.

This is the "digging out" I refer to this morning.  It is with pleasure I decide whether to pitch or save.  The harder problem is where to put materials sorted into the save pile.

Hoyt will occupy my former space, and Rich Ellefson will fill the other corner office.  Both men need space in which to work.

There's a time when one's activities becomes paper shuffling and pontificating, and I think I reached that point a year or more ago.  Time to let the younger fellers have at it.  I'll work from home, at least while there's snow on the ground.  There's still a good story behind this truncated working life, but your own story can always be trumped by someone else.  Move on.

A few dredging comments, too

I need to reply to several comments from blog readers.  All comments received are appreciated.  They don't need to reflect the same mindset that I do, opinions formed from my viewpoint alone.

The Potato Dock project is solely the Ferry Line's responsibility.  It's a private dock attached to private property, with associated riparian rights of the adjacent lake bottom.  The State or Federal government, we hope, will have the necessary details in order - the engineering, including core sample data that may be completed later this week, and financing - in order for the Town of Washington to become a grant recipient for channel dredging this summer.  If all that takes place, with permit approvals, then the main channel can be dredged later this year and we'll have a greater depth under the ferry keels once again.  But that won't happen for a good 6-10 months at the very soonest.

Even if/when the channel is deepened, we still have to accomplish additional, private dredging around ferry landings at the island and at north port.  This would be completely separate and apart from the dredging now underway at the Potato Dock, which we hope will provide temporary landing until our main docks and channel depths are improved.  

Regarding trucking and the associated noise, apologies are in order for the inconvenience caused homeowners along the route.  It's only because this is a very necessary project that we're pressed by the elements and time.  In many ways, with fewer cars, bicycles or pedestrians sharing the roads, this is as good a time of year as any for trucking.  If the Ferry Line Board had decided we could get through the winter without dredging at the Potato Dock, we would have gladly waited until spring to see what the new year's water levels might bring.  Such a project would never have been undertaken months back on speculation that it might be some day helpful to have deeper water at that location.

As for the trucking routines, hauling begins when the barge is full of material.  Not to begin hauling spoils immediately is to pay for contractor's time for vessels, equipment and crew without productive benefit.  From my observations so far, the hauling process has been quite clean, that is, relatively little mud or debris dropped en route to the dumping site.

Truck engine noise is another matter.   Yes, the diesels can be an irritation if you live along the trucking route and a truck passes by your house every few minutes over a 4-hour stretch.  To date, however, no trucking began prior to 0630, and no trucks hauled after 2030, and that was on one occasion only.

Thought for the day:   The earth's fragrance can't be enjoyed when your fingers are in your ears.

 - Dick Purinton

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